Episode 38: 7 Steps to Starting Your Business from SCRATCH
7 Steps to starting Your Business from SCRATCH
Today, I’m breaking down the 7 steps to starting a thriving business that you love from scratch. If you’ve felt overwhelmed by the prospect of starting a business from scratch, from the ground floor (not the “foth flo” like Brother Man) then you’re going to want to listen.
In this episode you’ll learn
The 7 Steps to Starting Your Thriving Business from Scratch
The costly mistakes I made that you should avoid
Today, I’m breaking down the 7 steps to create a thriving business that you love. A business that you truly enjoy running. A business that combines your passions and your strengths. And a business that supports your life. Yes, your best life.
It sounds like a pipe dream huh?
Here are the seven steps to starting. Caveat: This is not a perfect, step-by-step instructional guide. We talked about that in episode 36. No, this is your launching pad. Think of this episode as a compass, not turn-by-turn navigation.
Throughout the episode, I’ll be referencing past and upcoming podcast episodes to help you complete all seven steps. Just know, that today is an introduction to the seven steps and I will be breaking the steps down further and further.
So, if you’ve felt overwhelmed by the prospect of starting a business from scratch, from the ground floor (not the foth flo like Brother Man) a business that you love that supports your lifestyle and allows you to control your time, your professional direction, and brings real value, let’s dive right in.
Determine Your Values, Strengths, and Passions
Before we can even talk about the business model, market research, etc. you need to get the inside right first.
In order to create a business that fulfills you, you actually need to articulate what fulfills you. And you build your business and life around the things that fulfill you. Not vice versa.
So many aspiring entrepreneurs, myself included, really want to create businesses that allow us to feel genuinely excited to go to work everyday. We want to fill lit up about our professional lives. But unless you intentionally design a business around what brings you meaning and fulfillment, you won’t have a business that you love. You’ll have another job, something that pays the bills, but doesn’t bring you joy.
You create a business that thrives and that you love intentionally from the outset. And you do so by naming your vision, determining your strengths, and owning your passions.
I’ll have separate episodes to help you articulate your values, determine your strengths (because we as people tend to have a hard time naming our strengths), and your passions (even if you think you don’t have them). For right now, I want you to understand that your values are the fundamental piece to meaning. If what you are doing aligns with the core principles that you truly care about, you will find more meaning in your work. But if not, then you will be dissatisfied. If you truly value deep connections, but your business requires you to create lots of relationships that aren’t that deep, then you will hate your business. But if you design your business to suit your needs and values, then you will love your business.
Your strengths are the things you do incredibly well and you actually enjoy doing them. I am very skilled at quantitative work but I don’t gain energy from doing quantitative work. That’s why I didn’t love my previous job. You see.
Passions are important as well. When I say passions, I do not mean the one burning desire you have of your life. I truly just mean the things you care about. Care enough about that you’d at least go on a rant to a friend for 10 minutes or so if they allowed you. When you’re business is founding on your values, allows you to use your strengths, and allows you to make an impact on the things you’re passionate about, BABY that is the sweet spot.
2. Articulate Your Messy Business Idea
The second step to creating a thriving business that you love is to determine what your business will do. I’ll also have a separate episode on brainstorming business ideas if you’ve got zilch. But for now, let’s assume you have an inkling of what you’d like to do. This is great. I want you to just right out your business idea as plainly as you can. Right now, you’ll probably use a lot of words that only you can quite understand. Love, that is more than okay.
Let me share with you one of my business ideas: “I’d love to work directly with high school or college aged students to help them realize their “creative” (not just artistic, but the things that make them feel generative, the things that give energy), to honor those desires, and to actually make a plan to make it happen.”
Try saying that 10 times fast. It doesn’t need to make perfect sense to anyone but you.
Right now, I just want you to get the idea out of your head and into the world. You can email me your business idea at firstname.lastname@example.org. Go ahead, I’ll root you on even if and when your idea shifts. I just want you to speak your business idea’s name. Bring it to life friend, it is truly your own creation.
3. Conduct Market Research to Validate Your Idea
Step number 3 is to conduct market research to validate your messy idea. Now, I’ve used this seemingly official term: market research and you damn near stopped the podcast. Hear me out!
Take a deep breath.
Market research does not require you to have focus groups and conduct extensive surveys. All I mean by market research is start to gather tangible evidence that (1) your idea is needed and (2) you have a sense of your target audience.
When I say “conduct market research” begin with Facebook groups, talking to friends, families, neighbors who fit within your target audience. Read the blogs and articles about the big themes, challenges within your space. Watch people, for real. Eavesdrop on conversations. Just don’t be creepy.
But keep your eyes, ears, heart peeled for people’s need. That’s what market research is all about: it’s about bringing yourself to the level of the needs of others.
You can totally do that friend.
4. Test, test, test
Once you’ve done some market research, I want you to test, test, test your business idea. Float your business idea to people you trust and accept their feedback. I wish I had done this sooner.
And I’ll tell you why I didn’t and the price I paid for it.
I did not test my business idea early on, back when Chantiluke was focused on career coaching, because I was too afraid to hear that I was wrong about some of my assumptions in my business. I took the business idea as a symbol, an embodiment of me. And if my business idea was wrong, then I was wrong.
And you know what that cost me? Months of creating a course that people did not actually need. Months of shouting into a void with a message only I needed to hear.
You don’t have to make the same mistake. Test, test, test. If you’re selling products, make a basic mockup and see how people interact with. If you’re coaching, just ask some people you’d like to coach, what their problems are. If you have a service-based idea, like a restaurant, test your food. Test your menu.
Test the most basic version of what you want to do and get the feedback. That feedback is gold.
Think of feedback as a low-risk way that people, the universe, is helping you make your business better.
5. Clarify the person, problem, and promise
The fifth step to creating a thriving business that you love is by clarifying the 3 P’s of a thriving business: Person, Problem, and Promise.
You have your market research data. You have your feedback. Now, I want you to revise your business idea. Specifically, I want you to revise your ideal person, your specific problem, and your promise.
When you’re designing your business, you cannot and should not reach everyone.
Think of your business as a boutique, not a mall. You cannot accommodate everyone.
Nor should you. If you do, your special sauce, your strengths, your passions will be diluted to the point of disappointment for everyone involved.
I’ll have a few more episodes to help you narrow down to your ideal customer if you’re struggling. But for now, ask yourself: Who exactly do I want to serve? What do they believe? What do they want? What do they struggle with? One person served over and over and over again. That’s how your business ticks.
I also want you to specify the single problem that you solve for your ideal customer. People got loads of problems but you’re just trying to solve one. New entrepreneurs have lots of challenges: marketing, sales, finances, product design, managing stress, etc. You see the list could take up an entire podcast episode. But I’m solely focused on helping who don’t know how to actually start their businesses. I am not helping you scale your business to 8 figures. You don’t even have 1 figure yet. Chantiluke is all about the start. I am a neonatal specialist, not an adolescent pediatrician.
Specify, specify, specify. But don’t choose haphazardly. Choose the problems that you actually care about. That’s you started by naming your passions. You’re designing a business that you want to wake up everyday feeling motivated to put your heart into. You can only do that if you care about the problem you’re solving.
Lastly, I want you to clarify your promise. Your promise is the ultimate destination that you’re bringing your ideal customer. It’s what their life will look, feel, taste, smell like when you have solved their problem. If you create handmade crafts for newlyweds to start their first homes, you’re creating a happy, loving home. If you are a photographer for social media influencers, then you’re creating a distinctive brand. Your promise is about more than the tangible benefits, it’s the overall feeling and transformation that you create for your customers. Episode 30 is a fantastic place to start if you’re struggling with this.
6. Determine Your (tentative) business model
We are wrapping up here friends. Step number six is about determining your (tentative) business model. Once again, take a deep breath. I just through out a business-y term and you’re not a business-y person.
It’s all good. Your business model is simply how you’re going to exchange value for value with your customers. That is all. The New York Times sells subscriptions in exchange for readers to be informed citizens.
Your business model is simply the way you exchange value for value.
If your ideal customer struggles with keeping their home clean, you exchange house cleaning services for pay. Or you teach them how to be organized.
I want you to remember, that this is not set in stone. In fact, I hope your business model changes and evolves as you get better and better. Here’s the thing ya’ll: your business is going to morph and change so much within the first few years. Your business is a newborn baby. They are all ugly, gangly, alien looking things when you first start and they keep you up at night and no one loves it as much as you do. And your business will grow and change in ways that are astounding to you. It will outgrow its baby clothes so quickly.
So, determine your (tentative) business model for now so you can start making money somewhere.
7. Share with your current communities
We have arrived at our final step! The last step to launching a thriving business that you love is very simple: Start to share that you have a business.
Tell people that this is what you’re doing. Tell your loved ones, your friends, your neighbors. Share your new business with your community. I want you to do this for two reasons:
I want you to start to feel the awkward, nasty, imposter feeling of telling people you’re an entrepreneur. It will feel gross for a very long time. But alas, thus is life. Share with others so you can begin to own your identity as an entrepreneur.
The second reason I want you to do this is so that your ideal customers start to know that you exist. You do not have a name yet, you do not have previous customers yet, you’re starting from nada. So the best way to start to gain traction amongst your ideal audience is to engage with the communities closest to that ideal audience. Engage and share with the people that you know so that you can leverage those relationships to eventually gain customers. And yes, there will be a whole episode on how to do this coming soon.
There you have it ya’ll. The 7 steps to launching a thriving business you love from scratch.
Now that you have these steps, I don’t ever want you to think/say/or even entertain the notion that you cannot start a thriving business that you love from scratch. Because now you know how.
intro and outro music: danosongs.com